The role of an educator is to MOTIVATE and INSPIRE their students regardless of how fast or slow they progress. Aside from having the drive to teach, if one cannot meet these 2 basic criteria, then my advice is… DO NOT BE A TEACHER. Period.
Alex was my first ‘special needs’ music student. Prior to that, I’ve never had any other student like him. My decision of teaching him the flute was never about the money nor was it because his dad, Ivan Lim is my friend. I genuinely wanted to widen my spectrum in music teaching and explore new boundaries. I took it as a personal challenge for myself and truth be told, I got more than what I’ve bargained for…
I’d be lying if I say that it was smooth sailing teaching Alex. I was cracking my brains out to explore an experimental pedagogical approach which is customised just for him. I had to figure out how to keep him focused as he is easily distracted due to his condition. Despite all that, it actually turns out to be therapeutic just watching his unusual habits as his intelligence continues to baffle me.
That sense of satisfaction & fulfilment I get whenever he was able to deliver the things that I’ve taught him is just indescribable. And to be honest, this was all attainable only with lots of patience and dedication. Sadly after several sessions, my lessons with him had to be disrupted due to my overseas work attachments.
Fast forward to last Friday… Alex was insulted by his new flute teacher on his 2nd lesson at the music school where his Grandma had enrolled him in. All because for the fact that he is autistic. Alex have done nothing wrong to deserve that. I wouldn’t have known about this if I hadn’t been tagged in Ivan’s FB status. If there’s one thing that I can never tolerate; it is DISCRIMINATION.
I didn’t have the chance to hear it from the other side of the story. Being the least judgemental person that I am, I tried really hard to understand from the flute teacher’s perspective. However, I feel disappointed and at the same time sad for the flute teacher to not have the maturity in handling the situation diplomatically. It is hard for me to comprehend that he is someone of age (around his 60s) who refused to teach Alex just because his wife (who is a nurse btw) wouldn’t allow him to teach an autistic child.
What kinda bull**** is that?!! So is he working for the music school or his wife..?? In any case, I’m just relieved that after some exchange of course languages, things didn’t get any uglier and no violence were involved.
I am deeply affected and heartbroken to know of this episode. And I can’t help feeling slightly guilty because I felt responsible for “neglecting” Alex when I stopped teaching him. I’ve contacted Ivan and I’m glad that he said Alex’s passion for music hasn’t diminished since that unfortunate incident. In the meantime, I’m hoping to catchup and see Alex pretty soon…